By Parnell McCarter


There are a number of issues which have led me to seek membership in the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland (FPCS) rather than the Heritage Reformed Church (HRC), though I am thankful for the efforts on behalf of Christ’s kingdom of the latter as well as the former. 


Some of the more obvious differences of view I have with the HRC include their use of musical instruments in public worship and their observance of ‘holy days’ like Christmas and Easter.  Some of these deviations from the regulative principle of worship are constitutionally embedded in their official church order.


In addition, I disagree with the HRC’s approach to the training of its ministers in a multi-denominational seminary where many heresies are in fact floated, tolerated and even promoted.  I address my concern with this multi-denominational approach to seminaries in an article at http://www.puritans.net/news/heresy022707.htm .


The inconsistency in upholding the confessional standards of the church is reflected in other aspects of HRC life.  To take an example, in an Analysis of Wilhelmus a Brakel's work, "The Christian's Reasonable Service", by Rev. Bartel Elshout, a minister in the Heritage Reformed Church (HRC), Rev. Elshout writes:

"ŕ Brakel's exposition of the book of Revelation has not been translated as yet; the reasons for this decision will be delineated below... As stated, ŕ Brakel's exposition of the Revelation of John has not been included in the English edition. This exposition is by far the weakest and most controversial element of his work--ŕ Brakel was a historical millenialist with postmillenial tendencies --and has therefore never received the abiding recognition and approbation which have been awarded to De Redelijke Godsdienst itself. The Dutch church historian Ypeij states concerning this exposition: "This volume is the least significant and needs to be used by the common man with prudence and with not too much confidence in the exegesis of the writer." Los concludes: "The public at large has unconsiously placed its stamp of approval on this unfavorable evaluation concerning Brakel's exposition of the Revelation of John. For, as renowned as the Redelijke Godsdienst is, in like manner the exposition which concludes the work has been relegated to oblivion."lii This unfavorable evaluation of his exposition of Revelation led to the decision to postpone its translation to a future date."


This reflects the HRC's subtle but very real rejection of the Establishment Principle and historicism, despite their professed adherence to the original Three Forms of Unity (unlike Kuyperian denominations, which amended the confessional standards when they no longer agreed with them).  The HRC has not amended them, but their officers really do not uphold what their professed confessions teach. It is a form of confessional vow-breaking. A Brakel's Exposition of Revelation is I would think an embarrassment to them, because it shows how the Dutch Reformed Church was historically:

- historicist, believing the Papacy was the Anti-Christ Man of Sin and Beast of Revelation

- pro-Establishment Principle

- post-millennial

Of course, the three are tied, because we look forward to a day when the Papacy is overthrown and the civil governments of the world are reformed Christian.  The HRC seems to lack this hope, even though their constitutional confessions would suggest otherwise.


So though I appreciate the work of HRC in many respects, I cannot in good conscience join with it.